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Explaining nuclear meltdown and how it could affect the US

This information is from a previous article at Before Its News, from March 12, 2011, explaining meltdown (then, seen as possible) and the consequences for the United States. It includes a specific explanation of what a “nuclear meltdown” is and what will happen if there is a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.

Excerpt from Before Its News article, “Understanding the Meltdown Process … that could effect the US … EYE Report”:

…Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances…

Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.” said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist…

How would a nuclear plant meltdown unfold?

  • Control rods are driven back down into the core upon emergency (if rods don’t make it all the way… trouble)
  • The coolant (water) could cease if backup systems fail (electricity, pumps, generators, batteries)
  • Reactor continues to produce heat
  • Numerous venting valve systems would release pressure above ~1,000 psi into containment vessel
  • Eventually the uranium fuel encasement metal will melt (2,200 deg F)
  • Radioactive contamination then released into the reactor vessel
  • Radiation escapes into an outer, concrete containment building
  • Radiation escapes into the environment.

Not only would such a disaster be horrible for the local region and Japan, but other countries, namely the U.S. would be effected next by airborne radiation particles, the magnitude of which is yet to be determined.

Why would the west coast USA be in danger?

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States. Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet…

Note from onthewilderside: This morning, Saturday, May 14th, 2011, it is now reported that a nuclear plant worker from Japan has died after falling unconscious at the plant. Story: here.

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